Discussion of movies and ReelThoughts topics

It is currently Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:50 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 74 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good? 
Author Message
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7267
Location: Easton, MD
Post Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Dracula is the movie that prompted this thread. The original, "classic," Universal Horror Bela Legosi Dracula. You see, unlike James Whale's Frankenstein films (particularly the sequel), Dracula is not a well-constructed movie. You can lay some of the blame on Stoker's original novel, but it's fairly inert dramatically and every character who isn't Dracula himself is appallingly boring. The ending fizzles completely, and it feels long even at ~80 minutes.

Furthermore, this isn't just some oddball opinion of mine. There are very few people (seemingly) who would give Dracula a rave review. But it does have that iconic Legosi performance. And so...is that enough to consider Dracula a "classic?" I mean, it's a movie I gave a mere ** to. I think it's actively NOT a good movie. Can it be a classic?

What do you guys think?

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:41 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:26 pm
Posts: 2157
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
There are two different senses of the word "classic". One is a quintessential example of something (e.g. ramen is classic college kid food) and the other is something of high quality that has stood the test of time (e.g. The Great Gatsby is a classic novel).

So as long as we mind that our definition is on the same page, we could very well have a conversation about a "classic" that none of us likes and that many people would agree doesn't have very much merit. Dracula, being a fairly good metric of both the ups and downs of its genre, is a classic monster movie--in a sense.

_________________
The temptation is to like what you should like--not what you do like... another temptation is to come up with an interesting reason for liking it that may not actually be the reason you like it.


Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:58 am
Profile
Second Unit Director

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:07 pm
Posts: 377
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Birth of a Nation

/Thread


Sun Nov 03, 2013 12:41 pm
Profile
Second Unit Director

Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:49 pm
Posts: 229
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
roastbeef_ajus wrote:
Birth of a Nation

/Thread


The problem with Birth of a Nation isn't that it's poorly constructed or anything of that nature--the problem is that it portrays the wrong people as the good guys. That's a bit different than being a bad movie.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:26 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:35 am
Posts: 2012
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
I'd submit Little Caesar in this category. It's iconic, and people always remember Edward G. Robinson for this role, but it's also pretty cheesy, especially when compared with Public Enemy, Scarface: The Shame of a Nation, and even The Big House and The Criminal Code. Not to mention many of Robinson's other films.

_________________
Evil does not wear a bonnet!--Mr. Tinkles


Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:37 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:04 am
Posts: 2383
Location: Lancashire, England.
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
A film can be classically bad (think Edward Wood's bio)

Other than that, they probably need to be at least reasonable, in the sense they have to do something memorable.

_________________
... because I'm a wild animal


Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:00 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:26 pm
Posts: 2157
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Memorable? Like this?

_________________
The temptation is to like what you should like--not what you do like... another temptation is to come up with an interesting reason for liking it that may not actually be the reason you like it.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:03 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2011 9:04 am
Posts: 2383
Location: Lancashire, England.
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?



Goddam right, Ken!

_________________
... because I'm a wild animal


Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:04 am
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 9:17 am
Posts: 228
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
yes of corse it can.
I give you the first star wars.
If you took away the ground breaking effect ( at the time of release) it is not a good. The dialogue alone is not that great.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:30 am
Profile
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:21 pm
Posts: 565
Location: Milwaukee, WI (USA)
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
p604 wrote:
I give you the first star wars.
If you took away the ground breaking effect ( at the time of release) it is not a good. The dialogue alone is not that great.


Disagree. Even without the special effects, Star Wars is still a good move. Happened to show it to my 6-year old son for the first time on Saturday night (with my wife in tow). A few months ago a buddy of mine (who writes on a different blog) had this to say about Episode IV.
Johnny's More Literate Film Buddy wrote:
Star Wars is still a lot of fun. We rewatched the "1977 theatrical cut" (I have some doubts if it was precisely that) and I was reminded of how good and fun the original movie was before it was surrounded by all the subsequent add ons and fan worship. It's a love letter to Kurosawa, a tightly cut action film filled with cliffhanger after cliffhanger in its second half, and it's relatively unpretentious and filled with humor.

I was particularly struck by how tightly edited the film is. Yeah, there are special effects spots and vistas, but the film doesn't dwell on the special effects (possibly because that's all that they had in the can) and they're used judiciously and never so long that they interrupt the flow of the story. Considering all that they had to fit in, make cohesive, and understandable, it's about as well edited as a film can be.

And, although George Lucas is rightfully not known for his work with actors, even though he has American Graffiti to his credit, the performances work for the most part. Yeah, Hamill has some awkward line readings and moments, but the student / mentor thing between he and Guiness works well and Hamill, Ford, and Fisher develop an instant chemistry. Fisher is a lot of fun, even with the odd choice of a bad faux British accent at one point, and there's still a kick to be had when she grabs a gun, starts firing and bossing around Luke and Han. Guiness and Cushing are old pros who don't slum it. Harrison Ford shows the humor and charm that will make him a star. Anthony Daniels is fun. That's quite a lot going for a film beyond the special effects.

Trying to say something new about Star Wars is a tough thing to do, but let me add that it's simply refreshing to watch it again and let it work its magic that it worked on me the first time I saw it when I was 9. It's such a pure adventure movie that it washes away all of the subsequent BS.


It is a movie that is a prime example detailing the Cosmogonic Cycle. As one of my high school teachers pointed out, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (of the same year) had much better special effects (or at the very least, more seamless special effects) than did Star Wars, but it was the strength of the story that made the latter much more of a phenomenon.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:41 am
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:26 pm
Posts: 2157
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Star Wars gets by on the natural charm of the actors, the appeal of the essential archetypes of the characters, and the rusty but lovable personality of the environments themselves as created (or found) by the production team.

Fortunately, those things count for a lot in a space opera, and Star Wars has them in shitloads.

I'm not sure which edition your buddy watched, but if it's the version that comes packaged as a bonus disc in the 2006 DVD release (not 2004), it is the original cut. It even predates the 1981 recut that adds "Episode IV: A New Hope" to the opening crawl.

_________________
The temptation is to like what you should like--not what you do like... another temptation is to come up with an interesting reason for liking it that may not actually be the reason you like it.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:50 am
Profile
Cinematographer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:21 pm
Posts: 565
Location: Milwaukee, WI (USA)
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Ken wrote:
Star Wars gets by on the natural charm of the actors, the appeal of the essential archetypes of the characters, and the rusty but lovable personality of the environments themselves as created (or found) by the production team.

Fortunately, those things count for a lot in a space opera, and Star Wars has them in shitloads.

I'm not sure which edition your buddy watched, but if it's the version that comes packaged as a bonus disc in the 2006 DVD release (not 2004), it is the original cut. It even predates the 1981 recut that adds "Episode IV: A New Hope" to the opening crawl.


Not sure which version he watched (except to say that it wasn't the latest re-cut and enhanced versions). My wife, son and I watched the 2006 Bonus Disc DVD and I did notice that the "Episode IV" designation was absent in the crawl.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 11:17 am
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7267
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
p604 wrote:
yes of corse it can.
I give you the first star wars.
If you took away the ground breaking effect ( at the time of release) it is not a good. The dialogue alone is not that great.


Oh come on. First of all, as Ken said, it's certainly effective. Secondly, just watch the final attack sequence on the Death Star. In terms of music, editing, effects (both sound and visual) it's a masterpiece of filmmaking.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:19 pm
Profile
Second Unit Director
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 11:29 am
Posts: 270
Location: Watertown, SD
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
p604 wrote:
yes of corse it can.
I give you the first star wars.
If you took away the ground breaking effect ( at the time of release) it is not a good. The dialogue alone is not that great.


Some of my earliest, most vivid memories involve watching the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time at 6 years old. Its the only movie I can remember seeing for the first time as a kid and I certainly don't remember it for the special effects.

_________________
https://twitter.com/Steven_Renner23


Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:31 pm
Profile WWW
Director

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 1582
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Quote:
In terms of music, editing, effects (both sound and visual) it's a masterpiece of filmmaking.


On the contrary, I think that whole sequence is very clumsy, mostly because Lucas introduces us to about a dozen or so other flyers we've never seen before. We don't know or care about these characters, but we get to watch them all die just as a set up to "use the force, Luke" and Han Solo's rescue. But even if you were right, none of that matters when the director refuses to challenge his audience in anyway. Empire Strikes Back, in its way, challenges the viewer. Even more importantly, it challenges itself. It challenges its own material. The first Star Wars just feels like pampering.

It's a triumph of family-friendly entertainment. An early precedent to the PG-13 rating which signaled a new level of cash grab for Hollywood. The lack of anything dark or adult in the first Star Wars film is probably one of the main things which alllowed it to become a craze.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:36 pm
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7267
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
In terms of music, editing, effects (both sound and visual) it's a masterpiece of filmmaking.


On the contrary, I think that whole sequence is very clumsy, mostly because Lucas introduces us to about a dozen or so other flyers we've never seen before. We don't know or care about these characters, but we get to watch them all die just as a set up to "use the force, Luke" and Han Solo's rescue. But even if you were right, none of that matters when the director refuses to challenge his audience in anyway. Empire Strikes Back, in its way, challenges the viewer. The first Star Wars just feels like pampering.

It's a triumph of family-friendly entertainment. An early precedent to the PG-13 rating which signaled a new level of cash grab for Hollywood. The lack of anything dark or adult in the first Star Wars film is probably one of the main things which alllowed it to become a craze.


Your comment drips with condescension, but it also presupposes that dark/adult material is inherently worthier. It's a tendency that all of us who love films have on occasion, but it's fallacious. In general, it may indeed be a thing to desire from movies. But to apply the standard to every individual film is absurd.

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:39 pm
Profile
Producer
User avatar

Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:26 pm
Posts: 2157
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Never minding that while Star Wars may not challenge your intellect or your stomach, the entire film rests upon the assumption that we the viewers have our own inner desire for adventure and excitement, to get off this rock, to get out and brave the great unknown--all of which is antithetical to our desire for comfort and safety. Without any of that stuff, Star Wars wouldn't work for anybody, and yet it works for nearly everybody. It is the ultimate "dare to be awesome" film.

_________________
The temptation is to like what you should like--not what you do like... another temptation is to come up with an interesting reason for liking it that may not actually be the reason you like it.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:48 pm
Profile
Director

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 1582
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Quote:
Your comment drips with condescension, but it also presupposes that dark/adult material is inherently worthier. It's a tendency that all of us who love films have on occasion, but it's fallacious. In general, it may indeed be a thing to desire from movies. But to apply the standard to every individual film is absurd.


No, to force yourself to watch something that you don't enjoy; now THAT's absurd. I genuinely don't enjoy watching films like Star Wars, which have nothing on their mind except to please the widest crowd possible. I get no pleasure out of it. My enjoyment comes from darker/grimier/dirtier/rougher material, and especially from forcing soft viewers to watch the same. Of course, that's just me. But you're wrong, I don't claim it's inherently worthier. Just that I enjoy it more. If inherently worthier were instead equated to box office potential, I would be dead wrong.

Star Wars fans are the ones who often come across as condescending. Because they assume that everyone grew up with it, for one thing and that it's some sacred part of everyone's childhood whether they want it to be or not. Personally, I saw a Star Wars movie for the first time at age 13, which if you can believe it, was after I'd already seen Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, and The Godfather. Bond films are what I grew up with, but I try not to let my nostalgia get in the way of judging them based on what I've learned since. I hated Majesty as a kid. Couldn't even get through it. Now, it's my favorite.

Approaching Star Wars as a grown-up, and judging it in aesthetic terms, I can safely say it doesn't hold up. The cinematography is rarely better than competent. The sets and settings are large but don't have much beauty. The editing keeps the film moving, but it's nothing extraordinary. And Lucas has no real visual style.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:12 pm
Profile
Critic
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:35 am
Posts: 7267
Location: Easton, MD
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
MGamesCook wrote:
Quote:
Your comment drips with condescension, but it also presupposes that dark/adult material is inherently worthier. It's a tendency that all of us who love films have on occasion, but it's fallacious. In general, it may indeed be a thing to desire from movies. But to apply the standard to every individual film is absurd.


No, to force yourself to watch something that you don't enjoy; now THAT's absurd. I genuinely don't enjoy watching films like Star Wars, which have nothing on their mind except to please the widest crowd possible. I get no pleasure out of it. My enjoyment comes from darker/grimier/dirtier/rougher material, and especially from forcing soft viewers to watch the same. Of course, that's just me. But you're wrong, I don't claim it's inherently worthier. Just that I enjoy it more. If inherently worthier were instead equated to box office potential, I would be dead wrong.

Star Wars fans are the ones who often come across as condescending. Because they assume that everyone grew up with it, for one thing and that it's some sacred part of everyone's childhood whether they want it to be or not. Personally, I saw a Star Wars movie for the first time at age 13, which if you can believe it, was after I'd already seen Pulp Fiction, Goodfellas, and The Godfather. Bond films are what I grew up with, but I try not to let my nostalgia get in the way of judging them based on what I've learned since. I hated Majesty as a kid. Couldn't even get through it. Now, it's my favorite.

Approaching Star Wars as a grown-up, and judging it in aesthetic terms, I can safely say it doesn't hold up. The cinematography is rarely better than competent. The sets and settings are large but don't have much beauty. The editing keeps the film moving, but it's nothing extraordinary. And Lucas has no real visual style.


It's funny that you say the film is meant to please the widest crowd possible, but I don't agree. That implies focus groups, shameless demographic pimping...but Star Wars is a deeply personal film. It is an auteurist film through and through, and the film George Lucas wanted to make. If he wanted it to be dark vs. light, evil empire vs good rebels, fine by me

_________________
I'm lithe and fierce as a tiger


Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:16 pm
Profile
Director

Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 1582
Post Re: Can a Movie Be a Classic Without Being Good?
Quote:
Never minding that while Star Wars may not challenge your intellect or your stomach, the entire film rests upon the assumption that we the viewers have our own inner desire for adventure and excitement, to get off this rock, to get out and brave the great unknown--all of which is antithetical to our desire for comfort and safety. Without any of that stuff, Star Wars wouldn't work for anybody, and yet it works for nearly everybody. It is the ultimate "dare to be awesome" film.


Yeah, for kids. For families.

I've seen dozens of movies which fit that description better for me than Star Wars. I'm not afraid to admit that I do need a film that challenges my intellect or my stomach or my conscience or something in that vein. And if not that, it needs to at least be formally challenging. That's the whole reason why I watch movies, and the thing you like about Star Wars is the same thing I dislike.

Quote:
the entire film rests upon the assumption that we the viewers have our own inner desire for adventure and excitement


Exactly. It's playing into the viewer's nature. What I want a filmmaker to do, by contrast, is to force me to play into the filmmaker's nature.


Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:21 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 74 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Exabot [Bot], ilovemovies and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Vjacheslav Trushkin for Free Forum/DivisionCore.
Translated by Xaphos © 2007, 2008, 2009 phpBB.fr